DeepCoast: Quantifying Seagrass Distribution in Coastal Water Through Deep Capsule Networks

  • Daniel PérezEmail author
  • Kazi Islam
  • Victoria Hill
  • Richard Zimmerman
  • Blake Schaeffer
  • Jiang Li
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11257)


Seagrass is a highly valuable component of coastal ecosystems ecologically and economically, yet reliable mapping of seagrass density is not available due to the high cost of data processing and spatial mapping. This paper presents a deep learning approach for quantification of leaf area index (LAI) levels of seagrass in coastal water using high resolution multispectral satellite images. Specifically, a deep capsule network (DCN) is developed for simultaneous classification and quantification of seagrass based on the multispectral images. The DCN is jointly optimized for classification and regression, and is capable of performing end-to-end seagrass quantification. We separately validated the proposed method on three images taken in Florida coastal area and achieved better results with DCN when compared against a deep convolutional neural network (CNN) model and a linear regression model. In addition, transfer learning strategies are developed to transfer knowledge in a DCN trained at one location for seagrass quantification to different locations with minimum field observations, which saves a significant amount of time and resources in the mapping of seagrass LAI. Our experimental results show that the developed capsule network achieved superb performances in few-shot transfer learning as compared to direct linear regression and traditional CNN models.


Seagrass quantification Deep learning Convolutional neural networks Capsule networks Transfer learning 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Modeling, Simulation and Visualization EngineeringOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Earth and Atmospheric SciencesOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  4. 4.Office of Research and DevelopmentU.S. Environmental Protection AgencyCorvallisUSA

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